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Author Topic: What did my parents tell me......  (Read 14274 times)

Kharthulu

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Re: What did my parents tell me......
« Reply #50 on: 31 Dec 2008, 14:07 »

I wasn't thinking in statistical terms, i used the coin analogy to mean that from our viewpoint on this side of death we have absolutely no indication one way or the other what is correct, and probably we can't know.

Also, I could argue why any given religious belief, or no belief is just as possible as science, but it requires calling into question the reliability of probability, empirical evidence, and eventually our own senses.  And that kind of debate is no fun because on the one hand you technically must admit it is true, but on the other hand to accept that it is true is to accept that every decision is blind and arbitrary and where you go from there is just boring.
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mustang6172

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Re: What did my parents tell me......
« Reply #51 on: 31 Dec 2008, 21:49 »

I was raised a Baptist. (I'm a Brit though, and as far as I can tell English Baptists and American/Southern Baptists don't have all that much in common). I don't remember ever asking my parents about death, and strangely it rarely came up at church. The sermons tended to focus on how to be a good person, and make this life better for people. I liked it because it was practical. I'm not a Baptist any more though - my church refused to ordain a woman, so I left.

I haven't been to many other Baptist churches, so please tell me if I'm wrong about any of this!

I think my experience was similar.  I was raised a Mennonite (still am).  I don't think I ever asked them about death.  Plus they tended to avoid uncomfortable subjects.  We keep things superficial in our family.
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jtheory

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Re: What did my parents tell me......
« Reply #52 on: 01 Jan 2009, 09:02 »

I wasn't thinking in statistical terms, i used the coin analogy to mean that from our viewpoint on this side of death we have absolutely no indication one way or the other what is correct, and probably we can't know.

Also, I could argue why any given religious belief, or no belief is just as possible as science, but it requires calling into question the reliability of probability, empirical evidence, and eventually our own senses.  And that kind of debate is no fun because on the one hand you technically must admit it is true, but on the other hand to accept that it is true is to accept that every decision is blind and arbitrary and where you go from there is just boring.

Actually, we have plenty of indications; we just don't have any final proof.  There's a big difference.  So far, we have utterly no hint that anything happens to human consciousness after death -- as far as we can tell, it just fizzles out.  We can imagine all kinds of fantastical things that might happen, but all signs point to "fizzles out" just like all signs point to a dropped apple falling to the ground instead of flying upwards.  According to everything except for wishful thinking, consciousness fails when the supporting systems fail.

Not every decision is arbitrary at all, either.  It's worth thinking about; you have to make some assumptions to operate, but if you're interested in getting the best understanding of reality that you can (assuming reality exists... that's one of the required assumptions!), then you should avoid assumptions that don't gain you anything.  I posted on this in much more depth in another thread:
http://forums.questionablecontent.net/index.php/topic,21952.msg752748.html#msg752748

It's important to think about this stuff sometime; science is built to function with this unavoidable uncertainty.  If you build a theory -- basically an explanation for a big set of collected data -- it isn't really science unless it's *useful*; you should be able to predict non-obvious information that you didn't have before, and then experiment to see if your predictions were correct.  Darwin's theory of evolution predicted the existence of DNA before it was discovered, and a lot of its properties... that must have been pretty wild to confirm.
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